Author's Note: Can your car keep you from getting tired while driving?
I was surprised to learn, in the course of doing research for this article, that being uncomfortable -- even shivering or sweating -- will keep you more alert and attentive than a comfy seat. It makes sense, when you think about it, but at the same time, we still want that comfy seat. Who wants to drive cross-country with a leg that's fallen asleep or a knot between their shoulder blades? I'm sure it would keep me awake, but it sounds miserable.
The other thing I pondered while writing this article is that comfort over long driving distances seems like it may be more of an American problem. How far do people typically drive in Japan, or England or Lichtenstein? Granted, the average American only drives about 40 miles a day, but I'm not so sure other countries have the same romantic relationship we do with the road trip. Why bother developing a comfy car seat when people can just take a high-speed train?
- Brockman, Brian. Corporate communications manager at Nissan. E-mail interview, conducted on Oct. 31, 2012.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. "Driver Fatigue." USDOT. (Oct. 31, 2012) http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/outreach/education/driverTips/Driver-fatigue.htm
- Hicks, Jennifer. "Sensors to Detect Driver's Fatigue." Forbes.com. Oct. 29, 2012. (Oct. 31, 2012) http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferhicks/2012/10/29/sensors-to-detect-drivers-fatigue/
- NHTSA. "Drowsy Driving and Automobile Crashes." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (Oct. 31, 2012) http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/drowsy_driving1/drowsy.html
- Nissan (press release). "Comfort Zone: Seat Technology Aims to Cut Fatigue." Nissan News. Oct. 22, 2012. (Oct. 31, 2012) http://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/releases/comfort-zone-seat-technology-aims-to-cut-fatigue